Arabidopsis plants were grown in closed cultures similar to those used in space experiments. A shift in metabolism from photosynthesis to respiration is indicated by the accumulation of CO2 in the culture atmosphere. Reproductive growth is suppressed. Plant growth and development is apparently related to the atmospheric volume available to each plant. The implications of these findings to closed ecological systems are given: (1) there is a need for an open culture having ample gas exchange, (2) CO2 levels must be maintained within prescribed limits, (3) the minimum atmospheric volume required for each plant is dependent on the precision of the gas monitors and of the subsystems used to maintain appropriate levels of various atmospheric components, and (4) volatiles such as ethylene and terpenes emanating from plants be monitored and reduced to benign concentrations.